Wicked Campers has been “put on notice” after the Queensland Parliament passed laws that punish operators that refuse to remove offensive slogans from vehicles.
Tough new legislation was passed in parliament on Tuesday night that will mean operators that refuse to remove inappropriate words or pictures within 14 days will have their vehicles deregistered.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the legislation was targeted at van rental company Wicked Campers, whose vehicles often displayed “sexist, demeaning slogans”.
“We have essentially put Wicked Campers on notice that they are to remove these offensive slogans and if they don’t then their vehicles will be deregistered here in Queensland,” she said.
“If companies can’t put offensive and demeaning things on billboards because it’s not what people expect, then the same should apply to vehicles driving on our roads.”
But Ms Trad conceded the legislation extended only to vehicles registered in the Sunshine State.
“Clearly if there are vehicles coming from interstate into Queensland, our reach in terms of a state government is limited in terms of deregistration,” she said.
“But we are very, very determined that we make sure that these slogans that demean people, that demean particularly women, that do celebrate a rape culture, are not on our roads.”
The Advertising Standards Board will be responsible for determining if a slogan is inappropriate.
Car operators will then be contacted and asked to remove the offensive material within 14 days or be deregistered.
The laws are expected to come into effect by March 31.
Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, Ros Bates, said she was shocked and appalled by what continued to be displayed on the vans.
“[The slogans] include ‘it’s easier to apologise than ask for permission’, and ‘I can already imagine the gaffer tape on your mouth’… and for any member of our society these slogans are sickening and perverse,” Ms Bates said.
“These vans promote rape, encourage sexism and incite violence and control, but this do nothing Government has given us weak ineffective legislation that will do nothing to take these offensive vans off our streets.”
Anna McCormack from the group Wicked Pickets, which has protested against the van slogans, said the Queensland Government’s decision was a step in the right direction.
“At the moment in Queensland, it’s unlawful to vilify on the grounds of race, religion, sexuality or gender identity … but it’s not unlawful to vilify on the grounds of sex, which means women and girls are still fair game,” she said.
“We’re happy that they’ve seen the Wicked campervan slogans as inappropriate and the dangers of those slogans in promoting rape culture.
“A lot of misogynist advertising is much more subtle, but these ones are so very obvious that people from a whole range of groups were outraged by them.
Wicked Campers has been contacted for comment.